Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A simplified life: 10 tips for making your on-the-go life easier and more efficient #officiallatte

It seems like I've been on the go all summer... well, at least since the kids got out of school in June.  The harried pace of sleep overs, play dates, trips to town, and other assorted appointments can sometimes wear you down.  I, like a lot of people, get through the day with my best friend, Caffeine.  My best friend generally comes in the form of soda pop, since I'm not a coffee drinker.  But I have lots of friends who do enjoy a good cup of joe anyway they can get it.  And in this summer heat, a nice iced latte would definitely be something that they'd choose to get that extra boost of energy and beat the heat.

Aside from caffeine, there are other things I do to make my on-the-go life easier and more efficient.  Here's my top 10 list.

Image from Seattle's Best Website
1.  I like to scan a week's worth of my calendar a week in advance.  This allows me to plan those time sucking trips all on one day or pick a different day for something if it is better suited to my needs.  Like dry cleaning pick up - I hate that my dry cleaners is so far out of the way, so I'll pencil that in on a day I'm headed to town anyway.

2.  Have lots of healthy snacks on hand.  Being on-the-go, it is important to avoid alluring junk food by keeping healthy snacks in your fridge or pantry.  Right now, I have a whole bag of apples and a bunch of bananas.  Both are easy to grab on my way out the door.  Hubby is the coffee drinker in our house and if I were to put some of Seattle's Best Coffee Iced Latte in my fridge, he'd grab those to go on his way out the door in the morning instead of waiting for a hot cup of coffee and then transferring it to a car safe mug.  It'd be great for those mornings when the alarm goes off too early.

3.  Plan "me" time at opportune times.  If your library has a story time, plan to take the kids and hang around to choose a book to read in your down time.  Even if it is a half hour, it is a half hour without the kids.  Kid-free time, even in small chunks, helps your brain refocus and improves your mood. 

4.  Keep tabs on the forecast.  Since mowing the lawn falls to me, that means that I have to schedule that chore into my daily activities at least once a week/every 10 days or so.  I watch the forecast and plan to mow on those days that are the least hot so that I expend the least amount of energy pushing the mower.  Heat saps energy, so even shifting your mowing to later in the evening can save your body some wear and tear and make the job go a lot faster.  It takes me at least a half hour or more to mow during the heat of the day. 

5.  Try to stick to schedules, even on vacations.  Once your schedule gets off kilter, it can be hard to right it.  While sleeping in occasionally can be great over the summer, it can also make life more crazy and inefficient since you're giving up work time for snooze time.  It's OK to indulge when you need to and are able to, but sticking to a normal schedule can help you find the time to do those lagging chores like cleaning out the cupboards or closets that never seem to get done otherwise.

6.  Keep menus in the car.  This is a huge one for me since I'm allergic to wheat.  I print out the gluten free menus from restaurants and keep them in the car.  I know whose fries are safe and whose aren't.  When I'm out and about and need a meal, I can leaf through and find restaurants that cater to my dietary needs.  This is a huge time saver, particularly when I'm in an unfamiliar city.  I can use the GPS to pull up restaurants by name and save time and gas by not mindlessly wandering.

7.  Realize that my time is worth more than a stamp.  I know that sounds weird, but I used to pay my water bill in person.  My gas and my time are worth more than 44 cents, so I started to pay via mail.  It makes bill paying more efficient since I don't have to run down to the Treasurer's office to pay in person.  If you're running hither and yon to pay bills, just mail them in.

8.  Decant for car trips.  This is one lesson I learned the hard way when I got tired of vacuuming up a whole bag of Chex mix or Goldfish!  Take that few moments to put portions into snack size baggies for use in the car.  If it is something that won't go bad quickly (like crackers), then store them in the car for snack urges, which might help you refrain from stopping at a convenience store and paying an outrageous price for a snack.  Plus, if the kids dump a baggie, it is less mess to clean up.

9.  If it's going to be a crazy week, plan ahead with laundry!  If things are going to be crazy, I make sure that I do the important laundry the weekend before, like hubby's work clothes, for the entire week.  I like to stay on top of the laundry pile, but knowing I can skip a few days if I need to is a relief when my schedule starts getting overbooked.

10.  Keep your morning needs in one spot!  This one is from hubby.  He keeps his wallet, watch, cell phone, work badge, etc. all in one place.  That way, he has everything he needs right at his finger tips without having to rummage through the house looking for things.  Having left for work at least once sans his badge and having had to turn around to come home to get it, he learned this efficient tip the hard way.   You're less likely to leave the house without an important article if you're in the habit of keeping things you take to work every day in the same area.

Those are my tips!  I must confess... I rarely know where I've waylaid my cell phone when it goes missing.  I call it to find it sometimes, so perhaps I should take hubby's great advice and establish a home for those items that I need every day too.

About Seattle’s Best Coffee, the sponsor of this blog post:

As coffee blenders and roasters since 1970, we’ve seen a lot come and go. We went from a tiny shop on the Seattle waterfront to being declared Seattle’s Best Coffee in a local competition. In 2003, we joined the Starbucks family which has allowed us to place more resources into further honing our special way of crafting delicious, impossibly smooth coffee. Every step of the process, from coffee cherry to your cup, is managed to fit our exacting standards and our premium approach to coffee. Now, we’re making it easier to find your perfect coffee with our new Level System.

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I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seattle’s Best Coffee blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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